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'No Indian troops in Maldives after May 10, neither in 'uniform nor in 'civilian' clothing': President Muizzu

"There will be no Indian troops in the country come May 10. Not in uniform and not in civilian clothing. Indian military will not be residing in this country in any form of clothing. I state this with confidence," said Muizzu.

Written By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Male Updated on: March 05, 2024 20:27 IST
Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu
Image Source : MALDIVES PRESIDENT'S OFFICE Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu

Male: Maldives President Mohamed Muizzu has again sounded anti-India stance while addressing an event in Male wherein he affirmed that no Indian military personnel will be present inside the country following May 10-- be it in "uniform" or "civilian clothing".

"There will be no Indian troops in the country come May 10. Not in uniform and not in civilian clothing. Indian military will not be residing in this country in any form of clothing. I state this with confidence," Maldives' news portal Edition.mv quoted the President as saying.

Notably, the removal of Indian troops in the Maldives was part of an election campaign for Muizzu's party. There are around 88 Indian troops, along with Dornier 228 maritime patrol aircraft and two HAL Dhruv helicopters, stationed in the Maldives. However, earlier last week, some troops left the archipelago nation and the same number of Indian civilians were stationed to maintain the helicopter services.

Muizzu calls removal of Indian troops as major "success"

Addressing the residential community of Baa Atoll Eydhafushi, the President boasted the removal of Indian troops as his government's success and accused the Opposition leaders of spreading false rumours. "People who spread false rumours, are attempting to twist the situation," he said.

“These people [Indian military] are not departing and are returning after changing their uniforms into civilian clothing. We must not indulge such thoughts that instil doubts in our hearts and spread lies," the President added.

It is worth mentioning the latest remarks from the Maldivian President came hours after the island nation signed a defence cooperation agreement with China. Beijing has promised to provide free military assistance to foster "stronger" bilateral relations amid the latter's strained ties with India. The details of the defence cooperation are not known yet. 

Maldives ministers' contentious remarks 

Notably, the tension between India and Maldives rose after Mariyam Shiuna, Deputy Minister of Youth Empowerment, Information and Arts, commented on the photos of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to Lakshadweep. She dubbed PM Modi as a ‘clown’ and a ‘puppet of Israel’. “What a clown. The puppet of Israel Mr Narendra diver with a life jacket #VisitMaldives,” Shiuna tweeted.  Her critical comments came as India has maintained good relations with Israel even though the country has been engaged in the ongoing war against Hamas. India, however, since the start of the conflict has helped Palestine, sending humanitarian aid and has actively advocated two-state solutions. Ignoring the fact, the minister called Prime Minister Modi a "puppet of Israel". Later, several other ministers followed suit.

In fact, several of the ministers even claimed that Indian beaches could not meet the cleanliness level of the Maldives beaches. “The move is great. However, the idea of competing with us is delusional. How can they provide the service we offer? How can they be so clean? The permanent smell in the rooms will be the biggest downfall," Zahid Rameez, a Council member of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) wrote on X. 

India-Maldives diplomatic tensions

This triggered a major uproar in the diplomatic arena, wherein the Maldivian side had to release a "clarification" statement. The archipelago nation emphasised that the minister's remarks did not represent the view of the incumbent government and subsequently suspended three of the ministers who denounced the visit of PM Modi. "The Government of Maldives is aware of derogatory remarks on social media platforms against foreign leaders and high-ranking individuals. These opinions are personal and do not represent the views of the Government of Maldives...Moreover, the relevant authorities of the Government will not hesitate to take action against those who make such derogatory remarks," according to the statement. 

 A day after the suspension, India called the Maldives envoy in New Delhi and discussed the matter. 

Also Read: Maldives ex-FM exposes 'lies' of President Muizzu, says 'no Indian armed soldiers stationed in country'

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